Do you use industrial robots? ANSI adopts ISO 10218-1 and changes the game

Material Handling Robot at workIf you are an industrial robot user or integrator working in North America, you know RIA’s venerable robot standard, RIA R15.06. This standard was a ground breaker in it’s day, advancing the safe use of robotic technology in thousands of workplaces in the US and Canada. CSA adopted R15.06 and published it, with a few changes, as CSA Z434, providing near-harmonization in the US and Canadian markets.

These two standards brought the first inklings of risk assessment and control reliability requirements to North American equipment designers and integrators and broke new ground.

The last revision of R15.06 was published in 1999, and the last edition of Z434 was in 2003. In 2007, RIA made the bold move to begin harmonization with the international world by adopting ISO 10218-1, Robots for Industrial Environment – Safety Requirements Part 1 – Robot. This standard effectively replaces Section 4 of R15.06, covering the design requirements for the robot itself, leaving the safety requirements for the rest of the work cell to the existing R15.06-1999. This standard brings some truly exciting capabilities to robot users, including:

  • Wireless Teach Pendants
  • Synchronized multiple robots
  • Collaborative robotic applications and
  • Programmable safety controllers for envelope limitation.

When ISO publishes ISO 10218-2 in 2010 the rest of the cell safety requirements should be covered in that document.

CSA is currently reviewing CSA Z434 – they may choose to adopt ISO 10218-1 and (eventually) ISO 10218-2 once it is published, or they may choose to simply reaffirm the existing standard and consider adopting the ISO standards in another 5 years.

Need to know more? I presented a webinar on this standard on 19-Nov-09 through my friends at Pilgrim Software. The recorded webinar can be downloaded here. A copy of the presentation slides is also available.

Watch the webinar (you’ll need Apple’s QuickTime player or a viewer that can play .mov files):
Are You Ready for the Coming Changes in Robot Safety Standards?

Author: Doug Nix

+DougNix is Managing Director and Principal Consultant at Compliance InSight Consulting, Inc. ( in Kitchener, Ontario, and is Lead Author and Managing Editor of the Machinery Safety 101 blog.

Doug's work includes teaching machinery risk assessment techniques privately and through Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Kitchener, Ontario, as well as providing technical services and training programs to clients related to risk assessment, industrial machinery safety, safety-related control system integration and reliability, laser safety and regulatory conformity.

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